Mind your minerals! You need magnesium to absorb vitamin D.
You got the ABCs down decades ago, but you may want to brush up on D. Vitamin D, that is. If you’ve had your level tested and your doctor has recommended a vitamin D3 supplement (in addition to getting 15 minutes of sunshine on exposed skin per day), you’re in good company. Many Americans don’t get enough of the “sunshine vitamin,” potentially increasing their risk for health conditions ranging from depression to diabetes. But be sure you’re getting enough of the mineral magnesium, too. According to a new review of research, magnesium helps your body use vitamin D, and having adequate levels of the mineral may even mean that you need less supplemental D. If your magnesium level is low, on the other hand, supplemental vitamin D can remain stored and inactive in the body, which can be harmful. To ensure you’re getting the recommended daily allowance of magnesium (310–320 mg for women, 400–420 mg for men), eat plenty of delicious, mineral-rich whole foods such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spinach, black beans, nuts, bananas, whole grains, and potatoes with skin. We’re sure we won’t have to twist your arm to persuade you to eat a little dark chocolate, another good source of magnesium, on a regular basis. And in case you need yet another reason to avoid processed foods, keep in mind that they’re often stripped of magnesium (among other nutrients). Make sure you have normal kidney function, and stick with whole foods rather than a magnesium supplement unless your physician recommends one, as too much of the mineral can be harmful.